My New Castle Industrial Railroad is set in a generic location.  However, using ideas from prototype locations helps me immensely when planning layout scenery.  Although I pull mini-scenes and details from many different geographical locations, there is no substitute for using an actual area to achieve the overall layout atmosphere that I'm after.

My scenic inspiration is a Norfolk Southern industrial branch located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The "North Side" industrial lead is located just east of NS' Dillerville Yard.  The branch diverges from Amtrak's electrified Harrisburg - Philadelphia mainline at Cork Interlocking, crosses Manheim Pike, then meanders northwest to serve several industries...including Packaging Corporation of America and RR Donnelly.

Google Maps View:

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Bing Map

The photo below (taken in 2006) looks west from the SR 72 bridge.  The North Side is the track at far right, curving behind the Lancaster Malleable Castings plant toward Manheim Pike.   The huge facility at left is the Armstrong Flooring plant.  That's NS local H23 and its actually backing east out of Dillerville yard.  The train will reverse through Cork Interlocking, then cross over to the westbound main.  The local will travel a short distance west, then shift the Alumax plant before making a run up the Lititz Secondary.   Sadly, all the industrial buildings in this photo are gone today!

This Google Street View below looks south from Manheim Pike.  You can see that Lancaster Malleable Castings is gone and the North Side runs through the remaining debris field.  Catenary in the background is Amtrak's Keystone main.

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Of course on my New Castle Industrial, the Ann Street overpass takes the place of Manheim Pike.

Across the street, McMinn Asphalt batch plant makes an interesting scene.  I am modeling McMinn's equipment storage yard on the layout. 

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The North Side continues across Dillerville Road and on to RR Donnelly, at Steel Way.  On my NCIR, the end of operable track at Commerce Street will mimic this view:

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My NCIR is an independent operator that purchased industrial trackage cast-off by a Class I railroad.  Interestingly, this scenario almost played out on the North Side before the Conrail. split.  Apparently the sale fell victim to associated moratorium on line sales prior to the takeover by NS/CSXT. 

So, the prototype North Side serves my scenic purposes pretty well.  The area will offer plenty of  ideas to copy from!